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Please Help choose Video Card


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#1
georgetok

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I am getting a new Dell PC with following Configuration.

I am going to use a 46 inch OR 55 inch TV as my monitor so I can do regular computing as well as use it as a Home Theater PC.

I am not going to use it for gaming at all.


Intel i-7 3.4 GHz Processor

12 GB DDR3 RAM

Windows -7 Ultimate

Integrated 7.1 Channel audio

Hauppauge® WinTV-HVR-1200 Hybrid Analog/Digital TV Tuner

They are giving 1GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GT420 as default video card.

And they want almost $ 100.00 Extra for 1GB ATI® Radeon™ HD5770 Graphics Card

Should I pay extra for Radeon HD 5770 ? If yes, What will it do that NVIDIA won't ?

Thank You.
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#2
Raikia

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If you are not using the computer for games, the nVidia card is a great choice. Crap, even if you are using it for games, that card will be great! Charging $100 extra for the ati is fairly ridiculous, and in this day and age, you will barely see a difference between the two (with modern games even). I have a nVidia GT450 and it runs every modern game on full graphics with no glitching.

I am using video game graphics as an example of its power, but since you aren't planning on playing games, the only difference between these two cards is just $100 and brand name.

My opinion: go with the nVidia!


Now that said, 12 GB of DDR3 RAM is way overkill! I currently run 6 GB on one machine and 8 GB on another, and I have never maxed out 6. What are you planning on using all that RAM for? There is a limit on when it helps the performance of the computer...but that number is closer to 6 and 8 than 12. I would recommend saving some money and lowering your RAM to something more sane, unless you know specifically what you are going to use it for (really, the only thing I can think of is for using it to render realistic 3d graphics on a custom graphic program and never write it to disk until the end....AKA: never).

Hope this helps.
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#3
georgetok

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Thank you for enlightening me about RAM. Since my knowledge is limited & I heard someone else using the 12 GB RAM & i-7 CPU in my business very happy with lightening fast response, I decided to go with it.

But that might be my lack of knowledge in that field.

In my busines overkill wouldn't hurt much but underkill can kill you for sure.

The problem is that I am not able to quantify the exact requirements of the applications I am using but I do know for sure is that I am multi-tasking with every applications you can imagine except gaming. I have zero knowledge of gaming & thus can't do a fair comparision.

Does this help you to help me better ?

Please do let me know.

Thank You
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#4
Raikia

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What are your main programs that you use? What do you foresee yourself using this computer for?

I had an internship at a section of Activision (a large video game production company, if you don't know) for a while and every single computer was running 4 GB of RAM until I (personally) upgraded all the computers to 6 GB...and trust me...they use a ton of memory intensive applications.

It sounds like your coworker overkilled it without any knowledge of doing so. Yes, there will be extreme speed boosts from 2 GB to 4 GB. In cases of higher requirement programs, there will be a speed boost between 4 GB and 6 GB. If you are really using large 3d graphics, while watching a 1080p video, and....say....reading 40 million emails, then you might have a speed boost from 8 GB to 12 GB. See what I'm getting at? There is almost (read: zero) no need to have 12 GB of RAM. Your coworker could take out 2-4 GB of RAM and I guarantee you they will not see a speed decrease.

That said, they may have bought 2 sticks of 2 GB of RAM, decided to upgrade and found 2 sticks of 4 GB of RAM for a good price. It really depends on the cost...you might find 2 sticks of 4 GB is cheaper than 4 sticks of 2 GB. You might even find that 2 sticks of 4 GB is cheaper than 2 sticks of 2 GB! It really depends on the vendor, the brand, the speed, etc (obviously DDR vs DDR2 vs DDR3, but I assume you know that).


Again, I strongly suggest you decrease the amount you currently are going for. Obviously, getting 12 GB does not hurt your computer at all...it just hurts your wallet.

Another personal story: In my machine that I have 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, when I built it, I had 1 faulty stick. Now, I use my computer for a lot of cpu and memory intensive applications, and I still didn't detect that I had a faulty stick for about two weeks! Thats because the computer never (read: rarely) used it! For some tasks, the computer uses different, seemingly random memory locations, which is why it finally failed.

What are some programs you foresee using? What do you plan on doing with your computer that is CPU intensive?
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#5
Digerati

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I agree that since you are not gaming, you do not need the extra graphics horsepower (see "HOWEVER" below). I also agree that 12Gb is excessive.

You did not specify your motherboard. You need to look at its specs and determine the memory architecture it supports. It will typically be Dual-Channel or Triple-Channel Memory. If Dual, to optimize memory performance, you need pairs of memory sticks. If Triple, you need trips.

You also did not specify the exact version of Windows 7 Ultimate. I would strongly recommend the 64-bit version. 32-bit operating systems are a thing of the past. 64-bit capable hardware has been around for years, and 64-bit versions of most software products are readily available, or their 32-bit version runs well in 64-bit Windows. There is a physical (that is, determined by the Laws of Physics) limitation of 4Gb RAM support with 32-bit operating systems. There is also no doubt 6 - 8Gb of RAM will yield improved performance over a lessor amount of RAM (I agree that performance improvements above 8Gb will negligible at best and therefore a waste of your money).

Therefore, I recommend you get 64-bit Windows 7 and 8Gb (4 x 2Gb) of RAM for Dual-Channel or 6Gb (3 x 2Gb) of RAM for Triple-Channel.

HOWEVER - since today's computing environment is intensely graphics oriented, the more capable the graphics solution, generally speaking, the better the over all performance of the computer as the CPU is able to hand off more graphics tasks to the GPU. So, IMO, you are justified to take the budget money you save from getting less RAM and redistribute part of that towards a better graphics solution.

Having built several systems for integration into home theater systems, I know of no HTPC user that enjoys hearing the roar of fans emanating from their PC cases while watching a quiet passage in a good movie. Since you are buying this from Dell, your options may be limited. But for those building their own HTPC,"invest" in a good case. Many cases, especially those built for HTPC applications tend to be sturdy and many have sound dampening materials in the walls of the case, and sound and vibration isolators for the drives, and fans. For your Dell, you may need to replace the OEM fans with better quality fans, and a better power supply from a quality maker.
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